The Charlotte News
MONDAY, MARCH 28, 1938
He sat in at the making of the evils that at length began to close upon us. At Versailles he saw the casting of the matrix which before long was to mould a Mussolini and a Hitler. And he did not approve. He warned against it. You could not, he said, face both ways at once. You could not proclaim that power politics were dead and that henceforth the world was to proceed on a basis of collective security and international co-operation--you could not do that and at the same time play the iron conqueror and impose upon a beaten Germany a treaty which was modelled after the worst treaties of Metternich and Bismarck, and cheat Italy and leave her to starve. Yet when the thing was done, he still fought for the entry of the United States into the League of Nations. Our influence and power was such, he thought, that we could bring about a readjustment before it was everlastingly too late.
So far as the first goes we know now beyond any doubt that he was right. Even Clemenceau was apologizing for Versailles before he died. As to the second--nobody can say. But with the likelihood before us that we shall not escape the disaster which is almost upon Europe--it is hard to escape the feeling that it might have been better to have heeded this grey vague man of whom Wilson once said that he had an uncanny faculty of seeing the pressing events of the present as though they belonged to a historical perspective of the past--it might have been better to have heeded him and to have at least tried. . .
Country in a Hurry
Japan's budget, due to expenditures for military purposes, has long been about to burst open at the seams. Depreciation of the yen, the acquisition of credit abroad by putting down goods in foreign countries at almost any price, confiscatory taxes at home and frequent bond issues--all the standard means of raising money Japan has put into practice at the insistence of the militarists, whose expense accounts are huge. The wonder is that she has been able to keep up the pace year after year.
This year, to the ordinary strain of a budget top-heavy with expenditures for arms and munitions and long lines of soldiers, Japan has had to add almost twice as much again on account of the war she is waging in China. Ordinary expenditures for the year, about half of them for the army and navy, come to $833,000,000 which is a pretty severe strain on the country's pocketbook. Extraordinary expenditures for the Chinese invasion are estimated at $1,400,000,000, which is a lot of money even by New Deal standards. It is such a lot of money that Japan probably would be unable to stand a recurrence of it, hence either has to mop up with China in short order, or ingloriously call the whole thing off for lack of funds.
A Little Lavish
Why our Government at Washington has persisted in the policy of buying more silver than it can ever use at a price artificially fixed at level above that of the natural market, has hitherto been a blank mystery to us. It was long ago demonstrated that the policy did not do what its sponsors originally claimed it would do--did not give us first call on commerce with the silver-standard countries. So far as domestic conditions went, it did nothing but increase the prosperity of a few silver mine owners.
But it occurs to us now that perhaps the order discontinuing further silver purchases from Mexico, in retaliation for the seizure of American oil properties, throws some light on the matter. What we have really been doing, it seems, is to subsidize the Cardenas regime. Or to put it more clearly yet, we have been making an outright free gift of' sizeable proportions to that regime through our buying of $2,500,000 worth of silver each month. And to what purpose? Why, undoubtedly, among other things at least, to stimulate trade. "We'll give you this if you'll spend it for American goods"--that was probably the general idea. It sounds a little cockeyed, to be sure; for when you sift it down it simply means that Washington has been giving away United States goods to Mexicans. Certainly, nobody could deny that it was living up to the Good Neighbor policy with a vengeance.
The American Youth Commission has been querying 6,832 boys between 16 and 25 as to whether they would bear arms if the United States entered a war. Thirty-five of every hundred said they would volunteer. Thirty-one they'd go if drafted, twenty-four that they'd fight only if the United States were invaded or hedged about the matter, and ten said outright that they'd fight under no conceivable circumstances.
That's mildly interesting, but our guess is that it doesn't mean anything. The young men who say they won't fight save for the defense of the soil and those who say they won't fight at all probably believe sincerely that they wouldn't. But that is only because they haven't sufficiently contemplated what it will mean.
And what will it mean? Well, first that they'll have to resist the impact of a great wave of crowd psychology, a great onslaught of organized propaganda, the cheers of women, young and lovely women particularly. And secondly, they'll have to defy the community, a community on fire with white-hot emotions, with hate and pride and love. They'll have to submit to being despised, to being taunted as cowards and renegades--to being despised and taunted, above all, by the young and lovely women.
In short, these young men will fight, when the occasion arises, just as young men have always fought.
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